Dunwich Forest Plan

Dunwich Forest Plan

About

The plan area covers 512 hectares and lies within the Suffolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The whole plan area is held as freehold and is open access land.

The plan area has no formal conservation designations but is surrounded by land of high conservational value including Westleton Heath National Nature reserve, Suffolk Coast National Nature Reserve, Dingle Marshes nature reserve and Dunwich heath. The main habitats of interest within the plan area are heathland and wet woodland and the main species of interest are Nightingale, Woodlark, Nightjar, Fire crest, Dartford warbler and Silver-studded blue butterfly.

The National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Suffolk Coast and Heaths Project and Forestry Commission form the Blyth to Alde Landscape Partnership. The Partnership owns or manages some 3500ha of land in the immediate plan area and aims to manage these holdings to achieve the optimum management for biodiversity, social and economic benefits.

The majority of the plan area is planted pine (67%) with a fair amount of broadleaf woodland (24%) and open space (9%). The plan looks to move towards gradually reducing conifer presence and increasing broadleaf woodland and open space to provide habitat for the main species of interest. This will be undertaken through use of continuous cover systems to maintain the forest landscape during conversion.

Objectives

The objectives of the partnership are:

•To explore the practicalities of providing a large area where landscape and wildlife can be sustainably managed and be adaptable to changes in the environment and land use.

•To involve local communities and agencies.

•To improve access and develop links to the local economy.

•To establish a beacon site to inspire others.

What we’ll do

The Dunwich plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for a period of 70 years, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2017. This approval has been extended until 2020.

The areas of clear felling, selective felling and restocking planned for the plan approval period are summarised below.

Clearfelling of 55ha of conifers. Selective felling of 75ha of conifers.